As she slid the register drawer open and and fisted my change, I chirped, “Merry Christmas.” She returned the greeting in like, but then turned square on, and scowled, “I’m over it. I wish it was done finished.” As my mind whirred and I began to label her a Scrooge, she continued, “All my kids do these days is whine, I want this, and I want that. It’s not even the reason for the season you know?” Ok, I get it now.
And as I sat entranced by the lavish stage production of “A Christmas Carol,” I couldn’t help but think of Ebenezer Scrooge’s tiny heart– rolling around in his soul like a lonely pea on an empty dinner plate.
The Lovely Ghost of Christmas Past–Brought Scrooge sorrow and regret intermingled with fond memories of Christmases years ago. A joy long forgotten in his current grouchy existance.
The Merry Ghost of Christmas Present--Forced him to watch himself snap at children, growl at carolers and berate with an unwarranted meanness, his loyal employee Bob Cratchet. Pricked, his stingy heart began to thaw.
The Ghastly Ghost of Christmas Future-Unleashed a terror of a lonely death, gasping with his last breath, alone, despised and unwanted. But it also brought him hope, and a choice of what the rest of his days would look like.
We may not have a visitation from specters from beyond the grave, but we have:
Our own ghosts to deal with,
Our own choices to make,
Our own promise of hope and joy from a Savior who adores us.
So I encourage you to recapture your joy in Jesus. Strive to intentionally teach the young, the reason for the season. Otherwise, how would they ever know? Certainly not by looking around at the commercial settings on TV, in malls, and in retail stores.
Santa is everywhere,
Jesus is no where.
Dear Jesus, what has happened to us? How have the naysayers become more powerful than the faithful?
Luke 2:10-14 tells us the shepherds were in the field when their simple lives were changed forever.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
And a great promise was delivered. And their world needing some peace. And our world needing some peace.Peace, good tidings, hope and great joy for all people.
For the Scrooges of the world who have forgotten what joy feels like,
For the worn out mama’s manning the cash registers, and needing a little peace.
For the burdened-with-work-load and drowning-in-bills-to-pay Bob Cratchit’s. Who grasp for any hope.
For the Tiny Tim’s who shout with feeble voices, seldom heard in the din of the Santa frenzy, “God Bless us every one.” From the mouth of the tiny child of poverty, who remembers how blessed he is.
Stuck in the long checkout line together, we chatted. Noting the mile-high pile of toys in her basket, I inquired about her children. The young mom grimaced as she cocked one eyebrow toward her overflowing cart and spouted, “I only have one child, and yeah, we go a bit overboard at Christmas. We tend to hock the farm every year.”
Jesus is ours for the taking, will we reach out and let him fill us with peace, hope and joy? Or will we drown in the waves of Santa excess?
I encourage you to read Luke chapter 2 to your family before you open a single present. We all need a reminder from time to time about the real reason for the season.
Move over Santa.
Our true Joy is in Jesus.